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Brainy Apples: March 2014
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Spring Fling Linky Party!


Hello, friends! I am joining in Mr. Hughes' Spring Fling Linky Party AND Giveaway this weekend! Woo hoo! Just in time to cure those "back to school from spring break blues" or "just in time to celebrate spring break beginning!" There are quite a few TpT shops running a 10% off sale, too, including me!

The Rafflecopter is below to enter for a chance to win a poetry unit (just in time for Poetry Month!), some clipart, and $35 to spend in 7 TpT stores ($5 per store)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Then head on over to Mr. Hughes' blog to get started on the Share the Wealth linky of free and paid spring products. Enjoy!

Until next time!
Heather
**Please excuse any typos as I don't have the super power of being perfect :)

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Goody Bags for Testing


Can I just tell you HOW excited I am for this month's Bright Ideas Blog Hop?! I don't know what I am more excited about: the fact that I get to collaborate with SO MANY bloggers whom I admire and love OR the fact that I get to steal SO MANY of their amazing ideas! And the best part of this hop? You.Don't.Have.To.Buy.A.Thing. That's right, we are keeping it all ideas and no products or downloads. Trying to get back to the good old days of blogging :) So, without further adieu, let's get started!

Testing…the dreaded 7 letter word. I could never figure out how to make it less stressful and something my students actually looked forward to until my oldest son was in 1st grade. This was 4 years ago when we gave our state test to grades 1-5. Now, thankfully, we test just grades 3-5. My oldest son gets test anxiety, and I was NOT looking forward to the 3 days of testing that were coming up. But his 1st grade teacher was amazing (love you Mrs. Cobb!!!!)! She sent an email explaining testing goody bags. So simple, how could I have not thought of this?!
All she asked us parents to do was to make 3 bags, one for each testing day, for our child. There were 3 simple criteria:
1- The object we place inside must be able to fit in a brown paper lunch bag when it's stapled closed.
2- Include a letter to our child letting them know how proud we are of them.
3- Write the child's name and day of the week he/she is to open the bag (unless we sent in the bags one day at a time, then we just needed the child's name on the bag).


What's in the bags? 
We could choose whatever we thought would bring a smile to our child's face: a special treat and drink, new game of some sort, or even an iPod or DS so he/she could play it with friends. I did this with my own class, and that particular year I had a ban on Silly Bandz. Not because I was being mean, but because they were easily lost and because several of my students liked to trade them….and then change their minds and want their band back. So I placed a ban on all things Silly Bandz to make our classroom lives easier! Well, my students LOVED Silly Bandz, so I told the parents they were more than welcome to put Silly Bandz in their child's paper bag. Talk about excitement! You would have thought they had won the lottery! See, it doesn't take much to make the children look forward to testing. Just a few colored rubber bands :)

I have seen parents put in nostalgic games such as Silly Putty, Slinkies, Mad Libs, and the magnetic shavings on the bald man's head. The kids love these! Some parents send in their child's favorite treats or drinks such as cupcakes, cheesecake, Dr. Pepper (yeah, we have a nutrition policy but I let it slide for this), or Kool-Aid. You might think that the kids get jealous of each others' goodies, but they really don't. They are so absorbed by their own surprises and the letters from mom and dad.

I always take pictures of them opening their bags and holding up what they received. I put these pics on our end of the year PhotoStory so parents can see the smiles they brought to their child's face. Parents really appreciate this!

What about children who don't bring in a bag? Well, I have honestly never had any child not bring in a bag. But I always have a back up of treats just in case, or I would let them choose something from the class prize box. Every parent has always send in a letter and something no matter how small for their child. If I did know there would be a chance a parent wouldn't send something in, then I would write the child a letter just in case.

I have found these goody bags really help the children dread that 7 letter word just a little less because they know that afterwards they will be able to open up something from their parents. After the first day, they get even more excited for the upcoming days and I have found that it isn't as much of the surprise as it is the letter. They really love getting a handwritten letter from a parent telling them how proud they are and how much they are loved. I hope this idea might help you ease those testing fears in your classroom!

Next up on the blog hop is Matt from Digital: Divide & Conquer. Matt has a great post for you about using technology for brain breaks. Just click on the button below!

D:D&C

Alternatively, you can search by topic using the link-up below and move to any other blog on the blog hop! Have fun!

Until next time!

***If you liked what you read please consider subscribing to my email list. You will receive free goodies, blog posts, and updates right to your inbox! Just click here to join.

Heather
**Please excuse any typos as I don't have the super power of being perfect :)

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